I'm Wits Toopid

It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times…

Posts tagged ‘Life’

Originally published 13th December 2011

London beckons…

In early November I brave the seas for a number of interviews with a handful of Soho post houses in London. Soho has always been a bit of a dream for me; a post house wonderland, the post production capital of the world; it’s always seemed beyond (but just beyond) my grasp.

HipsterWatch Day 1:- Passing a fast food joint called Leons. It serves burgers that look like BigMacs and fries that look like McFries with Coke or Fanta or Shakes that look like McCoke, McFanta and McShakes. Basically, Soho’s very own Sexy McDonalds. And there, right outside Sexy McDonalds, is a guy smoking (or at least posing with) a cigarello. Fan-douche-tastic.

Soho is a strange hip-flask concoction of bars and restaurants, strip joints, major media headquarters and underground gaybars. Where else in the world will you randomly overhear “so they’ve put the entire feature on a drive, 2 terabytes, apparently”*** while passing a dingy upmarket gay sexshop.

HipsterWatch Day 2:- On the Tube next to a poser-fuck quiff-headed douche. Sunglass’ed on the Underground?! And if that’s not dickhead enough for you he sports an unlit rolley cig dangling from his lips. Give me a fucking break!

On the second day I get a callback and, after a little bit of confusion and a late in the day rush across London, I manage to get in for a rushed second interview. I do my best, I think, put my best foot forward. I’m happy with my performance and happy to leave it in the lap of the gods.

…I move to London in January. Wish me luck.



**2 terabytes is the size of a standard feature film encoded for DCP (Digital Cinema Projection)… basically, this guy had just finished making his feature film.
Advertisements
Leave a comment

My Grandad’s motorbike served him well from 1928 to 1935 and he travelled all over Ireland on it with his friends. But in September 1935 it came to a fiery end when the petrol tank burst into flames. Luckily noone was hurt but the bike was burnt beyond repair.

My Grandad was settling down at this stage, was about to get married and start a family. Despite being an avid bike fan he never replaced the bike and never owned a motorbike again.

For other Adventures of my Grandad, stay tuned or check out his earlier adventures:

1 Comment

Between 1928 and 1933 my grandfather and his friends took their motorbikes and travelled all over Ireland. My grandfather (above on the right) was also a keen photographer and took with him also his stills camera. Here are a few of his pictures from his trip to Killarney, Kerry and the Gap of Dunloe.





Here are the other Adventures of my Grandad. Stay tuned for many more:

10 Comments

I feel like I should feel like this is a bigger deal than like how I feel… like.

Y’know? … No?

I gather my stuff. Should I wear the jacket or not? I choose not, ball it up and slink it over my arm. I check to see if I’ve left anything and that my seatback is its full; upright; position before zipping up the bag and, being careful not to hit anyone, throwing it over my shoulder.
Check your pockets; wallet, phone, keys, passport.

* * * *

I straighten myself, lifting up on the balls of my feet, reaching as high as my fingers will let, willing inches but receiving millimeters; a short sharp electrical burst stringing up my back telling me I’m up as high as I can go; pushing myself to my physical limit.

The top shelf tin, sparkling golden biscuit brown from my low angled vantage, and adorned with the swoosh of the Jacobs brand (albeit worn from a couple of years of second hand use) teeters on the edge. I wiggle my fingers, migrating the tin off the top shelf in minutia. I attack the task with every ounce of strength in me.

I long to be older, taller, wiser, with the ability to get biscuits whenever I want, to choose to eat biscuits whenever I want and possibly even a job of my own where I can afford to buy biscuits.

I am ten years old and I long to be twenty.

* * * *

If this were a movie there’d be an opening montage right about now. Sun, flares, busy city file archive footage of people going in and out of buildings and then some random fucking hipster slurping away on a juice or something. The synth-backed montage music would narrate a story of how success drives you or how you reach for success or how now’s your time to catch the success or how you’re new to town and you’ve got the world on your shoulders. And then there’d be this shot of me on the train, cutting in as another train whoosed by so as to alluminate my face in an on again, off again flurry of hope and aspiration. My big packed suitcase to my side and the narrato-ballad sining that I’d finally arrived in “Luuuundon”

…If this were a movie…

But it all feels fairly normal and run of the mill in real life.

* * * *

– I’m sorry, excuse me?
– Pooh.
– Sorry, say that again?
– Pooh.
– Ahm… did you just say…Pooh?
– Yes, Pooh.
– Ah yes, that is what you said. Haha, thought I was going crazy there for a second.

I squirm awkwardly on the cold tile floor and glance over my shoulder to see if the train is ready yet; nope. The girl takes another swig from her flask of what she claims is Jameson and Coke and I think to myself how apt an ending to the 2001 Jameson Cork Film Festival this chance encounter is. Conor comes over and sits down.

– Hey
– Oh hey Conor. This is Pooh.
– I.. you… what?
– Conor, Pooh. Pooh, Conor.
– I apologize, I think I misheard, I thought I heard Shane just say your name was…
– Hi, Pooh, pleased to meet you.
Conor looks at me with the “Did she just say…” eyes
I look back in the affirmative
Conor throws me a “What the fuck!” look.
I return him my “Yeah, well, imagine how I feel” stare.
“Well,” Conors eyes think drastically “Let’s get the fuck out of here, then…”
“Now think about this,” my eyes interject “Where the fuck are we supposed to go?”

My eyes have a point. It’s 7am on a cold Sunday October morning in Cork Central Train Station. It’s miserable outside, there’s nowhere else open, we’ve just dragged the bags all the way from that shithole of a hostel after a night of heavy drinking, a day of some film watching and heavy drinking and another night and day of heavy drinking. Conor checks to see if, miraculously, the train is ready and then reluctantly accepts his fate beside us.

– Jameson and Coke? Pooh offers

I’m far too far immersed into this surreal tale to worry too much about drinking from the same bottle as a girl named Pooh. I just take it and swiftly down a mouthful of the mildly warmed concoction. Conor, just as settled now to his fate, follows in my suit.

– So, Pooh, I ask – Tell me about yourself. You must have had a miserable fucking middle school experience…

I am 20 years old, completing my first film festival experience, feeling for the first time in my life like maybe I have a possible future in this “making movies” business, sitting beside a filmmaker who’s just had two short films screened in a major Irish film festival… and a girl named Pooh.

* * * * *

An early morning jet cuts a gashlike incision into the cool January sky as it sets out on it’s journey and I catch myself grinning for the first time since I’ve arrived in London.For a split second a rippling prickle of excitement streams up my back and away into the ethos.

Perhaps; in ten years time; if I look back at moving to London, at moving away (I mean, really away. I mean further away than a couple of kilometers for longer than a couple of weeks) from home for the first time, I’ll play it out like some great moment, some aspirational life changing turning point. Perhaps. But right now a little grin and a rippling prickle is about as much as I’m going to give myself. I am 30 years old and…

1 Comment

London beckons…

In early November I brave the seas for a number of interviews with a handful of Soho post houses in London. Soho has always been a bit of a dream for me; a post house wonderland, the post production capital of the world; it’s always seemed beyond (but just beyond) my grasp.

HipsterWatch Day 1:- Passing a fast food joint called Leons. It serves burgers that look like BigMacs and fries that look like McFries with Coke or Fanta or Shakes that look like McCoke, McFanta and McShakes. Basically, Soho’s very own Sexy McDonalds. And there, right outside Sexy McDonalds, is a guy smoking (or at least posing with) a cigarello. Fan-douche-tastic.

Soho is a strange hip-flask concoction of bars and restaurants, strip joints, major media headquarters and underground gaybars. Where else in the world will you randomly overhear “so they’ve put the entire feature on a drive, 2 terabytes, apparently”*** while passing a dingy upmarket gay sexshop.

HipsterWatch Day 2:- On the Tube next to a poser-fuck quiff-headed douche. Sunglass’ed on the Underground?! And if that’s not dickhead enough for you he sports an unlit rolley cig dangling from his lips. Give me a fucking break!

On the second day I get a callback and, after a little bit of confusion and a late in the day rush across London, I manage to get in for a rushed second interview. I do my best, I think, put my best foot forward. I’m happy with my performance and happy to leave it in the lap of the gods.

…I move to London in January. Wish me luck.



**2 terabytes is the size of a standard feature film encoded for DCP (Digital Cinema Projection)… basically, this guy had just finished making his feature film.
Leave a comment

Chapter 2 – Siesta

Of course, every good monster movie deserves a good monster and if you’re sailing down the Nile then mummified crocodiles are definitely the only way to go. The Egyptians didn’t just mummify their dead, they also mummified numerous animals, placing them in tombs as pets to join their owners in the afterlife or as offerings to the various gods (including the crocodile god Sobek). There would, of course, have to be a scene in my mummy croc movie with some baby mummified crocodiles, where fifteen or twenty of the little mummy fuckers savages one of our unsuspecting traveling party…

Two fellucas slip in unison past us on the Nile.

Our unsuspecting traveling party are currently in a post lunch siesta malaise. I’m sipping away on a nice cold beer, dropping my feet out over the left hand side and, on each consecutive tacking (is that how you say it, tacking?) letting them skim and streak on the cool Nile water. I’m wearing my sunglasses on the tee tee as,like, an ironical statement of me, like, relaxing. Toshi, our crazy/happy sometimes/often drunk Japanese companion is asleep in a heap after somehow, unbeknownst to the most of us, secretly downing a whole bottle of wine during lunch. Alan and Janice:

– He drank a bottle of wine?
– I mean, I think he drank a bottle of wine.
– A whole bottle of wine?!
– Well, he was drinking out of that bottle.
– It’s definitely empty now, I’ve checked. Are you sure it was a whole bottle of wine?
– Well, yeah, he had a full bottle of wine with him when we took off this morning.
– Well, it’s empty now!
– I guess he drank a whole bottle of wine, then.
– Sneaky little shit.

“Fucking hell,” I think to myself, returning to my waterside ponderings “It’s been a little over a week since we first set sail on this little adventure, but Cario seems like another world now.” Que flashback.

Cairo is like another world. A fucking shithole, that is. I have been warned before I went on my travels that Cairo is a bit of a shithole but you have to experience it first hand before you can fully depreciate it. So much of a shithole is Cairo, in fact, that I’m more than chuffed when I find the only bin in the entire pyramid/sphinx compound (and, ironically, the only place that isn’t completely and utterly littered in the compound) But despite it’s beauty being marred at times by its scruffy demeanor there is no denying the impact of the pyramids when we first pull up that morning.

As you approach the hill above Egypt, beyond where the Nile’s old floodplains once lay and overlooking the sprawl and city, you can’t but think in awe at what the reaction must have been to see the pyramids in their heyday, smooth and whitewashed and glinting in the unending sun. Despite what many say the pyramids were not built by slave labor but by the people who lived in the farmland of the Nile valley below, during the rainy season when the plains were flooded the king gave them the honor of building his tomb. And in return, as a thank you, he allowed them to build their own tombs nearby. Unlike many modern religions the old Egyptians lived modestly in life but used all their wealth to prepare for the afterlife so it was quite an honor to be buried near the king and it meant that you joined him and all his otherworldly possessions on their journey to their opulent afterlife.

Toshi adjusts himself comfortably on the cushioned floor of the felucca, like a cat on fireside rug.

It was half way through our Egypt trip before we realized how much of a hilariously awesome alco Toshi was. Up until then we just had all put it down to him being a crazy fucking Jap bastard but after discovering how much he was sneakily putting away we couldn’t be sure how much of Toshi’s character was his crazy self and how much of it was the drink talking. One rarely, if ever, saw the kid drinking any of the awful Egyptian wines that he constantly had hidden in his various bags (Egypt, being a majoritively strictly Muslim nation, is not known for its wine – and for good fucking reason, too!!!) but, if you paid attention, you could very clearly see that the watermarks were most definitely rescinding.

– Toshi, have you drunk all that wine today?
A look of confusion.
– Is that a fucking bottle of wine?
– Oh, yes, bottow.
– No. Of alcohol, is that a bottle of al-co-hol?
– Al? co?
We do the hand motions.
– Are you drinking alcohol during the day?
At this point Toshi would usually give an innocent schoolgirl giggle as if he had been caught passing love notes around a classroom and slink off somewhere (one would assume to have another drink.)

Don’t get me wrong, the guy was universally loved by everyone in the group and became an adopted son to one and all (granted, an adopted son who rarely knew the full extent of anything that was going on, but an adopted son none the less.). Although Ahmed, our tour guide, a teetotal muslim Egyptian, didn’t necessarily appreciate it that time that Toshi got caught brining a half drunk bottle of wine into the Egyptian History Museum and Ahmed ended up having to run across the Egyptian Museums car park at mid day with a half drunk bottle of red wine in front of a horde of his fellow muslims giving him the stink eye and him going “it’s not mine, I swear, it belongs to one of my tour. I am a devout muslim, I swear!”

The sun slips up from behind the massive stone structure, the heat of the Egyptian winters day just beginning to sink in. Ahmed gathers us, somewhere a little aways from the steady stream of early morning tourists, to reiterate the point that nothing in here is for free, not to take the reigns of a camel from anyone, even the local camel-riding “policemen”, not to get drawn into a conversation; they only want your money. This is an on-running theme of the entire trip.

Our group is young and just finding it’s feet, everyone getting to grips with each other. We are still a little cliquey, still syphoning off into groups and not the well oiled whole that we will be within a couple of days.

I wear my photo-camera tee, y’know, as an ironical statement of the fact that I’m, like, a tourist, like.


And the tourists flood the place like bugs to a river on a warm summers evening. You can’t but think that many must be lost every day in the clamor to get a view of the sphinx or climb on the right rock to be pictured in front of pyramid a, b or c or get a ride on the “Oh LOOK, HAROLD – A CAMEL!!!” Right now, by the sphinx, an overtly brown middle aged British woman is barking orders at her peabrained skinny moustachiod blunderous husband who is trying to figure out how to press the button on the camera that takes the fucking photo.

– To the left, Johnathan. To the LEFT!
She squats like she’s about to shit.
– NOT THAT LEFT! The other left, Johnathan, the other left! Oh for Christs sakes Johnathan!!!

Meanwhile swarms of similar couples, groups and various buzz in and out and around in a naive purchasing frenzy.

I swat away a riverfly that is buzzing around my face. The water slips against my feet as the boat tacks to the left again. Out far, in the distance and beyond the bridge, two fellucas slip in unison further down the Nile and away.

Other Egyptian adventures include:

2 Comments